2008 IRA Men's Rowing Championships
Day 1 -- Thursday, June 5, 2008
Cooper River; Cherry Hill, N.J.
Michael Callahan, Head Coach
"So far, so good. What we wanted to do is get out in the lead of the heats and try to control it from there. We seemed to have been able to execute that. Everyone went into the race with the right mindset and we accomplished what we wanted to. Now its on to the next step. The semis are always really tough, so we have to go to the next level tomorrow."
On the fact Thursday was the first race for his crews since the May 18 Pac-10 Championships:
"We weren't particularly concerned. We're just focused on our preparation. There was plenty of racing in practice between our three boats and this last week we got to do some pieces against the Olympic Team and that certainly seemed to get us up to speed. It's not an issue right now."
On the importance of getting one race under your belt at the championships:
"It just gets out all of those little pieces of anxiety that you have and you kind of settle down into the race routine now. You talk about it all year and now you're in it, so now you can relax and just start executing. That's what we're focused on right now."
On the 70-degree morning temperature during the races:
"We've got a headwind, which is very untypical of this area. It is pretty humid and overcast. We're not going to complain about it right now. We're not battling the heat like we were in Sacramento. But, it looks like it's going to start getting up in the next two days, maybe in the 90s on Saturday. We're taking precautions there, for sure."
Lowell Neal, Varsity Eight Bow Seat
"It's one of three and we've got room to improve. Hopefully we'll just keep getting better over the regatta. We kind of go in with our plan and we just want to execute and go from there after the heat. Really, we want to end up with the best time that we can just so that we put ourselves in the best position for the future races. The top two advance, but we'd like to do the best we could. If nothing else, just mentally it's important for us to get the first race under our belt."
Katelin Snyder, Varsity Eight Coxswain
"I'm not that happy. We had a plan to execute a really blazing fast first 1,000 and we didn't really do that to the extent that we wanted to. So that made the rest of the race more difficult. The last week we have been working on being really calm. I think we definitely did that. It's something that we haven't really been able to do in the past little while is execute an entire race relaxed. So we did that and we rowed well. Our goal is to improve over the entire regatta and this is just stage one. We have two more races to go. We have a good base of rowing and somewhere to work from. It's really crucial to get through one race. We haven't raced since Pac-10s and the pieces that we've been doing have been shorter pieces and we've been tapering. To do kind of the full race plan once on the course is important."
Trevor Mollenkopf, Second Varsity Eight No. 6 Seat
"It felt so good. It was just real controlled and relaxed, exactly how we wanted to do it. It's probably because of the way we were training. We were just really relaxed off the start. We had a good taper the last couple days. We were getting a little nervous coming into the warm-up, but we got that under control. We just wanted to make sure that everyone knew who the boss was. We've just been working so hard in practice, and it's so nice to have it finally actually be against some legitimate competition and not like another of our boats and not us and not the clock. It's nice to go down the course. This is it. I kind of had this epiphany last night. We train all year and we always say `When we get to IRAs this needs to happen,' or `This is for putting it in the bank." It's like we're writing checks all year and now it's time to cash them."
Micah Perrin, Second Varsity Eight Coxswain
"Before the race I could feel it in warm-up that they are very fresh right now and they're really antsy to go. I told them that this is just the heat, so we needed to go out there and have a good controlled race. They are all race-savvy guys and we wanted to put down a good piece, but not blow it for the semis and the finals. We have a great coach and a lot of guys know what they're doing. We go just as hard on a regular weekend as we would on a normal race weekend. It doesn't really feel like necessarily we've had any time off. It's the competition from other teams, the unknown, that really gets us fired up. It's hugely important to get a race in. The guys got a lot of nerves. You see guys shaking their hands out and pacing. That first race kind of calms the nerves and lets the body know that this is go time. This is what we worked all year for. Coach tells us, 'These guys are race horses.' They love to do it. We get one under our belt and we get ready to step up to the final."
Lucas McGee, Freshman Coach
"It was a good first race, pretty typical. I'm sure it hurt them a lot after their taper. I thought they rowed well. It was a little difficult yesterday, with the storm watch, they couldn't row on the course. I was a little worried that they hadn't ever been on the course until their first race. We talked about it and they handled it pretty nicely. It's kind of nice to get the first one over. If there is going to be a rusty one, it's going to be the first one. You get that one out of the way and then hopefully we have a good one in the semis."
Alex Chalk, Freshman Eight Coxswain
"We preformed what we wanted to do. We went out there with a lot of excitement to get the racing started this weekend. That was a really good first race. Our boat has a lot of experience. When we get out there, we all know that we need to get the job done. All that excitement turns into motivation to get down the course. Getting that one race down the course just really starts the weekend off right. You just find that rhythm, you find what you need to improve and what you've got down. It really gives you a beginning marker for the whole weekend."